An Ancient Tree

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When the magnetic field reverses—or attempts to—it gets weaker, leading to more radiation from the Sun getting through. Previously, scientists have linked extinction events to magnetic field reversals. The newly discovered kauri tree's rings contain a complete record of a near-reversal—the first time a tree that lived during the entire event has ever been found. We will map these changes much more accurately using the tree rings," Hogg told stuff.

Neighbourhood nature

Samples of the tree are now being analyzed by scientists, led by Chris Turney from the University of New South Wales—an expert in paleoclimatology and climate change. Understanding what happened to the tree during the event could provide an insight into what we should expect the next time it happens.


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It will take out satellites and it might take out other communication infrastructure," Hogg said. Magnetic field reversals happen at random intervals, although in the last 20 millions years it appears to have settled into a pattern, happening once every , to , years, NASA says.

Exmoor - Ancient Trees

The last full reversal took place around , years ago. The loose bark sustains a huge variety of insects, and dead wood provides nutrients for different fungi. Ancient trees do not necessarily need to be huge in size, although they can be. The diameter of the trunk is often a better indicator of age than the height or spread of a tree, as the canopy of old trees tends to contract with age.

The trunks of oaks and ash usually shrink in height with age, and can become very squat and of very large diameter. Large sections or branches can often be found lying on the ground, and are an indication that this particular tree is reaching veteran status.

Further Reading and Useful Links

It is as though the tree knows that to survive in strong winds that it must shed some of its top weight. Sometimes a veteran tree can split in half and the centre part of the tree rot out completely into a hollow tube. This does not necessarily mean that the tree is now unsafe and should be felled, but that the oldest part of the trunk the heartwood has died off. The remaining outer shell of the tree can still be extremely robust and strong, and the tree live on for another century or more.

However, the rotten wood inside the tree is often where the greatest diversity of wildlife exists, and why it is important to preserve and protect this tree from being felled.

What is an ancient tree?

If the Island were to loose any of its most ancient trees, with no protection being offered to being cut down and removed, it would be an enormous loss to our countryside, and our heritage. Ancient trees grace our landscape! Veteran trees can occur just about anywhere — however gardens, riverbanks, church yards and hedgerows are all good places to start looking for them. Working with the Dept. W e need your help to find them! Without your help it will not be possible to complete this task!


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  • There are potentially hundreds here on the Island. So the next time that you are out wandering the countryside, have a good look at the trees that you are passing.

    Some mountains are ancient giant trees!


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